EARTHCO PROJECTS BLOG


Flood damaged roads, repair and rebuild

Widespread flooding during 2016 resulted in damage to a number of road networks across Australia. Flood recovery works are underway, with councils and road authorities rebuilding damaged roads within restricted budgets with a simple change to the way things have always been done.

Whilst re-sheeting is often thought of as the easiest method with which to rebuild flood damaged roads and repair pavements, in truth it is not the most effective way. Crews are used to rejecting existing material as unsuitable. They are used to trucking in imported material. They are used to maintaining unsealed roads only to see those roads drenched and damaged again and again in repeated rain events.

PolyCom Stabilising Aid enables crews to use the material that is already in the road or table drains to make a stronger pavement, rather than trucking in new materials for re-sheeting, as has been the most common flood repair fix in the past. 

PolyCom is not only a simple and cost-effective solution for flood repair. When PolyCom is mixed into road material and compacted, the finished road pavement is stronger and longer lasting. It resists traffic and water damage into the future.

PolyCom is so effective that it will pay for itself by reducing the amount of new gravel required, with most roads needing 4 to 6 times less maintenance grading or attention after being treated.

A council or department will find that PolyCom can be added to the maintenance method and schedule they have been familiar with, without disruption. Crews become used to using in-situ material to repair flood damaged roads. They become used to recycling road material rather than importing material. Crews become used to maintaining roads with PolyCom.

PolyCom can repair and rebuild a road more easily and cost-effectively in the face of shrinking budgets and increasing flood repair backlogs. 

Improved efficiency by way of better time management, lower plant and manpower requirements, as well as a lower carbon footprint, make PolyCom Stabilising Aid a compelling solution.

Flood damaged road before PolyCom treatment

Grain haul route gets PolyCom upgrade in WA wheatbelt region

The wheatbelt region in Western Australia is the source of nearly two thirds of the state's wheat production, half of its wool production, and a range of other agricultural and pastoral products. 

With considerable effort made to support the efficient transport of goods in the region, the existing road maintenance regime for one local shire was becoming unrealistic in both cost and resource management. Therefore, in a recent road widening and reconstruction project, the Shire made the decision to strengthen the base course with PolyCom Stabilising Aid. 

Three years on, the Shire has used PolyCom on approximately 15 kilometres of road per year to reduce degradation and road failure, and overall wear on the sealed surface.

The PolyCom stabilisation has created a far better outcome for this problem area, resulting in:

  • Reduced deformation in the outer wheel path of the treated roads
  • Reduced punching of the aggregate into the road surface
  • Reduced flushing of bitumen at the surface.

Maintenance on the PolyCom treated sections of road have been reduced, making for a sustainable solution where resources can be utilised to do other works required.

Traditional road construction methods suggest there is an upper limit to CBR readings that will result in cracking. However, by maintaining flexibility of the treated pavement and raising overall pavement strength, PolyCom has allowed maintenance crews to achieve much higher CBR values using the material already present in these roads without failure. This factor allows use of lower grade materials that will generate a superior outcome.

The use of PolyCom has saved considerable resources for the Shire, and lead to fewer complaints from the public.  

Our colleagues Betta Roads, the distributors of PolyCom in Western Australia, worked closely with the council and shared the images below.

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Extracting the greatest value from unsealed roads with PolyCom Stabilising Aid

Reducing costs with PolyCom Stabilising Aid is the answer to cost-effective and efficient unsealed road management. 

Specially formulated to extend the life of unsealed roads, PolyCom reduces maintenance requirements by four to six times.

You can rejuvenate the existing road materials with PolyCom, building a stronger pavement without importing new quarry material. This is achieved by treating the material that exists on-site and mixing recovered material from table drains, whilst re-shaping the road to facilitate better drainage. 

PolyCom generates a road that is stronger, less slippery and requires less grading. No imported material is required. Major savings on gravel carting and purchase are available with this method as well as reduced maintenance.

When new quarry materials are required to maintain the level of the pavement, treating the re-sheet material with PolyCom enables road crews to reduce the thickness of new gravel by at least half, whilst building a pavement with the integrity to withstand water ingress and erosion. 

Councils can save resources by applying PolyCom to new re-sheet material during standard road maintenance, reducing the need for future grading interventions whilst maintaining higher quality road performance standards and more satisfied residents.

Significant cost advantages are available with PolyCom road stabilising, with little change to work practices.

PolyCom distributors assist road maintenance and construction crews on-site, working closely to train and educate them to ensure they achieve the best results from PolyCom Stabilising Aid.

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Productivity Improved With Innovative Australian Product

We’re excited about a road maintenance job with a council in country NSW this week. What was particularly inspiring was not the application of PolyCom Stabilising Aid itself, but the efficiency of the crew. 

We joined the boys onsite at 7am to deliver the product. They didn’t need us to supervise as they’ve used PolyCom for deep patching and unsealed road maintenance for years, but we stayed to be part of the action. 

In remote locations, access to water often determines how fast a road crew can get the job done - if they’re waiting for water between ripping, grading and compaction, a 1km job can blow out to 2 days. In this case, there were enough water trucks to get moisture in the ground, and the crew worked beautifully to get the PolyCom in and get the job done. They were done by midday.

By moving this efficiently, the council’s savings in time are compounded by the effects of PolyCom - reduced maintenance requirements, reduced importation of gravel and quarry materials, reduced man hours. 

Whilst PolyCom stabilising offers proven savings for councils, success is limited without the process planning and infrastructure to ensure the road maintenance process falls within time and budget constraints. PolyCom application does not require an investment in specialised equipment and takes little time to apply, so if the grader, roller and water cart are in good working order and ready to go at daybreak with the crew, there’s no reason not to enjoy the savings.

If you’re interested in hearing about what works for other councils when it comes to road maintenance and what blows the budget (we’ve been around long enough to separate the wheat from the chaff), give us a call on 1800 790 907. No cost, no obligation. Have a chat with us about your project to see what we can offer and how you can benefit from using PolyCom.

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Polymer Road Stabiliser Moving Forward in 2016

News is in from our colleagues around the country that business is booming and customer satisfaction is at an all time high.

The PolyCom road stabilising solution is gaining traction from state to state as road makers across Australia celebrate savings on unsealed road maintenance.


From Cairns to Canberra, Perth to Alice Springs and everywhere in between, treating unsealed roads with PolyCom Stabilising Aid is a winner in the face of road maintenance issues.

In the last few months, the Australian made polymer binder has worked its way through naturally occurring sub grade, pit gravel, natural soils and high quality crushed rock for a large number of different projects in road construction, mining and earthworks across the country. Used on unsealed roads, access roads, airfields, mining haul roads, harvesting roads, carparks, hardstands or anywhere the earth is moved, PolyCom proves to be extremely versatile and cost-effective.

PolyCom enables Shires and road builders to produce a stronger pavement with the materials at hand. The increase in resistance to water ingress and traffic wear on roads treated with PolyCom results in a significant reduction in road maintenance costs, saving time, money and resources.

PolyCom works in difficult materials that would normally be wasted or thought unsuitable, materials with a high clay content or a low clay content such as sandy clay. 

With dedicated distributors in every state, you can rest assured that you will have local knowledge and experience at hand to enable you to get the best possible results. PolyCom Stabilising Aid is a trusted polymer stabiliser used for over 12 years in the field. The fast application process does not require an investment in specialised equipment, making it easy to understand why road makers are increasingly turning to the PolyCom stabilising system for efficient management of road infrastructure.

Click here to find out how to apply PolyCom road stabilising aid to almost any material. 

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Tasmania Road Shoulder Maintenance

These road shoulders on a sealed road in rural Tasmania have received an application of PolyCom Stabilising Aid.


One of the main causes of shoulder failure and erosion on sealed roads is water ingress.

By applying PolyCom to the in-situ materials, the council road crew is increasing the strength of the material and enhancing the water resistance of the materials prior to resealing.

As PolyCom does not require 'curing time' as such, the road can be resealed without delay, and re-opened to traffic in a short space of time.

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Old Road Habits Die Hard

In-situ stabilisation PolyCom stabilising aid Victoria coast


It is time for councils to innovate, and make changes before other tiers of government make changes for them. It is time to become more proactive and deliver better performance at lower cost with less effort.

Unsealed roads, one of the biggest items on council budgets, are a case in point. The old method of unsealed road maintenance still practised by many councils is to grade and re-sheet following a fixed road management plan. Some councils attempt to optimise the life of their unsealed roads by increasing the road pavement depth. i.e. more gravel. This is not financially sustainable and is socially irresponsible.

This method is not environmentally sustainable. The answer is an innovative solution so simple, economical and effective that it allows councils to eliminate the majority of re-sheeting and cut back on unsealed road maintenance by four to six times.

Rather than 150mm gravel re-sheeting at $34,000* per kilometre, councils can rehabilitate the in-situ materials at 150mm at a cost of $15,800* (1km length, 6 metres wide, 150mm depth). This simple, up-to-date method of in-situ stabilisation not only costs less, but creates stronger, tightly bound roads that last longer.

These are just some of the benefits of stabilisation with PolyCom Stabilising Aid instead of crushing and hauling rock. Stabilise and reduce dust in one operation. Eliminate the need for constant, repetitive maintenance grading. Reduce wear and tear on equipment and labour costs. Reduce trucking and carting costs. 

PolyCom allows councils to unlock the hidden assets already paid for in their unsealed roads to build better roads, and shift the savings in unsealed road costs to allow a higher standard of service across the shire.

To remain financially viable, councils must make a real commitment to adapt and innovate. In preparation for a viable financial future, it is time to enable genuinely transformative change using innovative solutions such as PolyCom Stabilising Aid.

* plant and labour are included in these figures.

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Pothole Repair with QPR

Quality Pavement Repair

QPR Flyer Earthco Projects 2015

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS  

How long will it take the patch to harden completely?

QPR is designed to remain somewhat pliable after application. This allows the product to continue to fill small voids and crevices through continued compaction. Totally filling these voids prevents water (and in the winter – ice) from getting into the repaired area, and ultimately causing your patch to fail. 

How is QPR different to other products on the market?

What separates QPR from the rest is our proprietary, water-repelling additive. Our additive will allow you to repair the damaged pavement area without the need to remove any water. Simply remove any lose debris and compact the material in 50mm increments.

When can I apply driveway sealer over the area I just repaired?

Just as you wouldn’t apply a second coat of paint before the first coat dries, you’ll need to allow QPR to cure or ‘dry’ prior to the application of any sealer type product. Curing time depends on the climatic conditions at the time, but as a general rule your patch should be ready to seal in 6 months. The more compaction the patch gets, the more rapidly it will cure. A quick ‘feel test’ is to simply place your hand on the patch. If it is still tacky, more cure time is required. If it is dry to the touch and appears somewhat dull rather than shiny, the patch may be sealed or treated. Remember, cosmetically, QPR is as black as the sealer you are using, so the appearance of your driveway, parking lot or patched area, will look as good as new.

Should I cover the patched area while it cures?

Absolutely not. QPR is ready for traffic immediately following compaction. Covering the patch delays the curing process, and provides no benefit to your repair.

How deep a hole can I fill?

As long as you compact the QPR every 50mm, you can fill as deep a hole as you like.

Can I use QPR to build a speed bump, curb or ramp?

Probably not. Remember, QPR is a REPAIR material, designed to work within the confines of a hole or utility cut. Although we have had some pretty creative customers who have found ways to use QPR in situations not approved by our Engineering Department, QPR is designed solely to patch potholes and utility cuts.

If I don’t use all the QPR in the bucket, can I use the remaining material later?

Yes. Just seal the bucket tightly, and the remaining material will stay usable for up to two years. 

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Shires Recover Their Roads With Cutting-Edge Solution

Whilst the Roads to Recovery (R2R) programme is an essential element in maintaining local government road networks, for many councils the latest instalment falls short of addressing a critical backlog of road maintenance.

However, a welcome alternative is enabling local government to extend their R2R allocation, by building stronger unsealed roads with the materials already at hand.

PolyCom Stabilising Aid is an award winning innovation that addresses the problem of sourcing unaffordable finite quarry materials and gravel resources. PolyCom is added to existing unsealed road materials, and has been proven to reduce maintenance by up to six times. 

Councils procure PolyCom in a highly concentrated form, with each 2kg pack able to treat 50m3, or 500m2 at 100mm depth. 

Adequate product supply can be transported in the back of a car to treat many kilometres of road. 

OHS and environment compliant, procurement of the field-proven

PolyCom solution means councils:

  • don’t have to cart new gravel to site
  • don’t need to transport large quantities of product, and
  • don’t need to mix PolyCom in a water cart.

As PolyCom is applied in granular form with a dry spreader, council works crew simply add water to the road materials as needed, and work the product in with their existing road plant - grader and roller.

“More and more government departments and road contractors are sharing the benefits of using PolyCom, as they discover they can use materials previously considered not suitable for road construction and maintenance,” explains Steve Hey, Engineering Applications Manager for Earthco Projects, PolyCom distributor for Victoria, NSW and Tasmania.

“This has enabled them to make considerable savings on road construction and maintenance as well as lowering their carbon footprint.”

Councils can maximise the impact of their road maintenance budgets by incorporating PolyCom Stabilising Aid into their unsealed road programs. 

With an Australia-wide network of distributors, PolyCom is suitable for application in almost any material, and is simple and ready to use.

To find out more about PolyCom Stabilising Aid, call 1800 790 907 

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Test Results: PolyCom Stabilising Aid vs Re-sheet vs Maintenance Grade

In March 2015, a council in south-west NSW undertook a practical comparison between unsealed road maintenance methods. The results confirm that PolyCom adds water resistance and longevity to the existing road materials, reducing future maintenance interventions.

Selecting a stretch of unsealed road, the council allocated three test sections - the first to be re-sheeted with imported gravel, the second to receive a simple maintenance grade and the third to be treated with PolyCom Stabilising Aid.

In April 2015, one month later, a loose fines sweep test (or Ravel Test) was conducted on each section of the road to collect all loose material from a 1 metre x 1 metre test patch.

Only 426 grams of material was collected from the PolyCom treated section of road, a stark comparison to the maintenance grade and re-sheet sections.

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Ravel Test results:

Re-sheet section - 9,845 grams per m2 

Maintenance grade section - 5,019 grams per m2

PolyCom treated section - 426 grams per m2

As you can from the images and the results, the re-sheeted section yielded 23 times more loose material than the PolyCom treated section.

What's more, four days prior to testing, the roads were subjected to over an inch of rain.

The results confirm that PolyCom adds water resistance and longevity to the existing road materials, and prevents the time and expense of winning and hauling new gravel to site.

Call 1800 790 907 or to find out more about the PolyCom sustainable road maintenance system - in support of the environment and a more sustainable Australia.

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© Earthco Projects 2012